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31 August 2023

A great re/action for our first-ever environmental festival

Our first ever Re/action Festival took place over the bank holiday weekend with audiences of over 10,000 in attendance.

Thanks to funding from Arts Council England and partnerships with Leicester City Council, Curve Theatre and De Montfort University the festival explored creativity for the climate in the heart of the city centre. Over the weekend, the Re/action Festival introduced a series of world-class performances, live music, workshops, a clothes swap and street theatre with a focus on people and communities coming together to create small changes that add up to make a big difference.

With a wide-range of activities taking place in the city centre, one of the festival highlights featured The Vegetable Orchestra who had travelled from Vienna in Austria especially to perform in Leicester. The orchestra played a full concert on fresh vegetables and then shared free soup for audience members.  Jubilee Square was filled with all sorts of creative activities, workshops, information stands and performances throughout the festival weekend.

A Herd of Mechanical Creatures made from reclaimed materials and the giant puppet Gnomus roamed around the Clock Tower and Soft Touch Arts also created junk sculptures that decorated Museum Square next to international audio-artist Jason Singh’s The Hidden Music of Trees, whose work recently featured on BBC’s latest David Attenborough documentary series The Green Planet.

Another big hit from the festival was Artizani’s installation, The Bees, which was a series of beautifully crafted beehives that showed audiences what bees do on their day off. These interactive beehives were hosted in St Peter’s Square, thanks to the Highcross.

The Nupur Arts parade, as part of the ‘The Journey to Leicester’ performance filled Gallowtree Gate to bursting point with gloriously colourful outfits, dancers ranging from 6 to 60 years old and an amazing traditional Indian brass band that really brought a buzz to Sunday afternoon’s festival line-up.

Stephen Munn, Interim Creative Director at Art Reach, said “I’m thrilled with the turn-out and support from local people who clearly enjoyed the weekend. Thanks to the support of several partners across the city we were able to keep the festival free for all to enjoy so a huge thanks to all those who have supported this first Re/action Festival. We cannot wait to bring Re/action Festival back in 2024, with even more things to enjoy.”

Huge thanks go to all our funders, partners, artists, participants, volunteers and support staff for bringing our festival to life. DAT Events once again did a marvellous job working on production for the festival and most of all, thanks to all the people who came to support us as we explored Creativity for the Climate together in Leicester’s city centre.

If you joined us this at Re/action Festival we’d love to know your thoughts, please help us by completing this audience survey here: Feedback

You’ll find some incredible images from the festival weekend, thanks to Pete Martin Photography, on our Facebook page here: Saturday photos and Sunday photos

A giant grey puppet is on a busy high street and an actor stands in the foreground.

Image: Pete Martin Photography

A woman in colourful and traditional Indian costume. The woman is dancing to live music by drummers who are also in the image.

Image: Pete Martin Photography

A man in a band plays a carrot like a flute.

Image: Pete Martin Photography